Impact of Covid-19 Outbreak on Healthcare IT Market
Healthcare IT has attained the position that it has been wanting to for a long time due to COVID-19. Remote monitoring, AI-powered assessment apps and devices, and telehealth platforms have all become a new norm.
Before the start of COVID-19, healthcare IT remained just a concept. As per a study showed in the US alone, 82% of consumers did not use such services due to the lack of improper infrastructure and awareness. Additionally, its reliability and effectiveness were also questioned.
However, with the spread of coronavirus, healthcare institutions and regulatory bodies had to turn to alternative ways of providing healthcare while limiting exposure to the virus. Various organizations and institutes, such as The Academy of Family Physicians and the American Medical Association (AMA), released related guidelines in support of promoting Healthcare IT or digital healthcare. For instance, AMA stated that Medicare administered by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) would temporarily pay clinicians to provide telehealth services for beneficiaries residing across the entire country. Additionally, the Trump Administration and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) also waived off potential HIPAA penalties for good faith use of telehealth during the emergency.
Healthcare IT not just helps to curb the spread of the virus by limiting exposure but also helps reduce the inevitable burden that virus outbreaks can place on an already stretched health service. There is a shortage in the number of physicians and hospital beds. Here healthcare IT comes as a savior in reducing unwanted physical contact.
The UK government is a prime example of adopting digital health strategies to control the spread of the virus. The government partnered with Ada Health, a company that produces a symptom checker app. This company produced an app that screens explicitly for coronavirus and had a strong focus on the UK and Germany.
Another digital strategy by the UK is from Orion Health, which is offering its outbreak management solution to reduce pressure on acute services. The system helps in identifying and managing patients with symptoms of coronavirus and reducing the need for hundreds of phone consults.
On the same lines, the Singapore government launched the app TraceTogether on March 20, 2020. TraceTogether detects other users of the app who are in proximity. It can then be used to identify close contacts based on the proximity and duration of an encounter between the two users that must have come in contact with the virus.
This COVID-19 pandemic has posed various challenges to the global healthcare community, and for these challenges, digital health systems serve as well suited solutions to this public health emergency. These include the development of robust surveillance systems, wider penetration of wearables for tracking of physiological parameters, telehealth, novel diagnostic and clinical decision-making tools, and development of interactive chat services for public dissemination of COVID-19 related information.
Healthcare IT will experience tremendous growth and adoption in the future due to its benefits, such as accessibility and functionality. Additionally, the relaxation of regulations is also likely to boost the market growth.
Source: World Bank, WHO, and MRFR Analysis